COVID-19

2021-2022 School Year Plan

(Subject to change as the pandemic needs change)

Fall 2021 Reopening Guidance

“Schools are an important part of the infrastructure of communities. They provide safe and supportive learning environments for students that support social and emotional development, provide access to critical services, and improve life outcomes. They also employ people, and enable parents, guardians, and caregivers to work. Though COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred in school settings, multiple studies have shown that transmission rates within school settings, when multiple prevention strategies are in place, are typically lower than – or similar to – community transmission levels.” (CDC School Guidelines). In accordance with US CDC guidelines for schools (updated July 9, 2021), RSU 68 will return to school five days a week with all students and staff in-person for the 2021-22 school year.

Health & Safety Guidance

Encouraging Vaccination

The district strongly encourages all students and staff to obtain a complete COVID 19 vaccination when eligible. Towards this end, the district will conduct vaccination clinics at appropriate times. The district will also continue to record volunteered vaccination status privately (for contact tracing) and report aggregate numbers publicly.

Masks

Wearing masks will be a parental choice during the school day. However, should community transmission rates in Piscataquis county reach an orange or red level (see last page) all students and staff will wear masks. Masks are required on buses (see Transportation below).

Distancing

Social distancing of 3’ will be maintained whenever compatible with full in person return per CDC guidelines, including almost all sedentary classroom situations. Distancing will not be enforced during brief (<5 minute) transition periods in hallways nor during specific active/cooperative learning activities in class. Distancing is not required outdoors. Unvaccinated staff should maintain 6’ foot distancing from students when compatible with educational needs. Social distancing in cafeterias is not compatible with full return to schools and will not be required.

Pooled Testing

Opt-in pooled testing will be offered to all staff and students on a weekly basis in accordance with the ME DOE guidelines and testing program to provide for early detection.

Ventilation

Schools will continue to be operated to ensure high rates of air change through HVAC equipment, maximizing outdoor air to the extent possible and using MERV 13 filtering for all recycled air such as may be required by colder temperatures. Teachers continue to be encouraged to keep windows open when temperatures allow.

Handwashing

All students and staff continue to be encouraged to engage in frequent handwashing for 20 seconds; hand sanitizer will remain available in all spaces. Students will use hand sanitizer prior to entering the building in the morning.

Symptom Check Protocol
Administration will modify COVID-19 symptom lists as guidance is updated, and will communicate guidance and requirements regularly to stakeholders. Symptom checks must be conducted daily before school for all students and staff. Students and staff showing symptoms are required to stay home.
COVID Response Protocols for Positive Cases

The district will follow current state guidelines for handling the occurrence of a COVID+ case in the schools (SOP document). As of July 2021, these require reporting, contact tracing, and quarantines for individuals who test positive, and quarantines for non-vaccinated individuals with a close exposure. Positive cases identified by pooled testing will follow state DOE guidance for pooled testing.

Cleaning Protocols
Custodial support will continue to allow for increased overall cleaning in the building; classroom cleaning supplies will be provided in all classrooms and staff is encouraged to clean surfaces as practical. CDC guidelines state that “cleaning once a day is usually enough to sufficiently remove potential viruses that may be on surfaces.”

Additional Considerations

Transportation – Return to pre-COVID capacity. Masks required on buses per CDC guidelines. When weather permits, windows should be opened in front and rear of the bus for increased ventilation.
Performing Arts/Music – Consultation with RSU 68 music staff – largely returns to pre-COVID practices, with some safety precautions in place, particularly for grades 6 and younger and for groups where spacing is restricted.
Parent volunteers/visitors (school day) – Resume volunteer program, following established protocols (including sign-in form/sheet that includes an acknowledgement form outlining safety protocols).
Meetings (in-person vs. virtual) – Continue to utilize virtual meetings on a case-by-case basis depending on meeting participants and agenda.
Extracurricular Activities (Guidelines, Planning, etc) – Follow general guidelines outlined above (i.e. same as school day); groups may wish to continue virtual meetings/events as desired or able; keep attendance records for in person meetings/practices/events
Parent Conferences – Continue virtual conferences, with option for parents to request in person conference if desired.
Special Events (Open House, Parent athletic meetings, Literacy nights, School-wide gatherings, etc)

      • Parent athletic meetings – virtual
      • Open House – to be held in person
      • School-wide gatherings – may be held as conditions permit
      • EP meeting-virtual as much as possible
      • Other events – TBD on case-by-case basis as conditions permit

Social & Academic Supports

Social & Emotional Support – Social and emotional development will be addressed through small teacher- student ratios, advisory programs, as well as through guidance and social work services in the district. We will focus on transitions back to school by continuing to foster reengagement in the first weeks of school.

Student achievement will be assessed and monitored throughout the school year to identify and address any gaps in learning that may have been created. Intervention will be provided in classrooms and through targeted plans and programs in order to support students including providing additional after school support for all students and especially those with targeted needs.

Technology readiness – We will continue to incorporate technology in our teaching and learning in order to maintain successful platforms that were developed this past year and be ready to support distance learning if it becomes necessary.

Hybrid/Remote Learning – We are not planning to offer hybrid or remote options for all students. We will only provide limited, interim remote learning primarily through asynchronous learning. To be considered for this limited remote learning, families would need to provide the school with documentation of medical necessity or family displacement. If families would like more information about documentation needed, they should contact the school principal- Mr. Gudroe. Families who are looking for a long-term, full remote program next year should explore external options like Maine’s virtual charter schools, national virtual learning companies or homeschool.

Community Transmission Ratings

The CDC identifies four levels of community transmission and provides a county-level map (CDC scale) based on weekly new infection rates. Many news sources instead report daily rates which are 1/7 of weekly rates. Percent of tests that are positive may also influence community transmission level status, although historically in Maine, with easy access to tests, new cases have been the key determiner (see previous link for full details). Blue – Low Transmission (0-1.2 new cases/day or 0-9.9 new cases/week per 100K population) Yellow – Moderate Transmission (1.3-7 new cases/day or 10-49.9 new cases/week per 100k population) Orange – Substantial Transmission (7.1-14.3 new cases/day or 50-99.9 new cases/week per 100K population) Red – High Transmission (>14.3 new cases/day or ≥100 new cases/week per 100K population)

Is it COVID? A cold? The flu? Maybe just allergies? Here is a helpful handout to decipher the symptoms

What does it mean to quarantine or isolate? These flyers explain when to quarantine or when to isolate

American Rescue Package Expenditure Plan

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan package.  Part of the package includes funds to support schools to ensure that we are able to fully open in September 2021. Maine DOE allocated funds to each school system that accepts federal money and RSU 68 was allocated almost $1.8 million dollars. The law requires that we set aside 20% of those funds for intervention work which is roughly $358,000.

RSU 68 has started the process of writing the ARP application. Based on information from families, school staff, and the school board/community it appears we are looking to use those funds in three ways: creating more space, supporting our ventilation, and intervention work. More information about our American Rescue Package Expenditure Plan can be seen below. A pdf version of this plan can be downloaded here.

Thank you to the RSU 68 staff, school board and community for their input in creating this plan.

Total: $1,792,929.09
20% or $358,585.82 must be spent on student interventions
RSU 68 plan spends $511,929.09 on student interventions
Superintendent's Office: $672,500

* Create two new classrooms in the elementary school and new furniture in classrooms and a sensory room. Build new office: $500,500 including security, phones, internet, town sewer and water, and pad/skirting. (Purchased Services)
New Furniture for office: $15,000 (Supplies)
1 new set of furniture for each grade level: $25,000(Supplies)
Sensory Room: $20,000 OT for summer 2022 (Supplies)
Update MS Title room- new door and light switch: $5,000- During Christmas Break (Supplies)
Create wall to divide office: $30,000- Maintenance for summer 2022 (Salaries-$500 Supplies- $4500 Purchased Service-$5000)

Roof: $510,000
Protect the new ventilation system in the MS
Put a new roof on the MS wing: $500,000. Out to bid.(Purchased Service)
Fix air circulator fan in elementary art room: $10,000 (Purchased Service)
Staff and Student Communication: $98,500
*Provide hardware and software for all students
Laptops $20,000 per year $40,000 (Supplies)
iXL math/reading $30,000 for three years (Supplies)
Razz Kids $15,000 for three years (Supplies)
Connectivity: $13,500 (Purchased Service)
Extended School Day: $64,872
*Provide afterschool programming for students in grades 3-7 who need additional support
Salaries: 2 staff (one grade3-5/one 6-8) for 4 hours per week for 37 weeksX 3 years
Materials for each staff member $700 per year per staff member (Supplies)
MS Guidance – SEL books $1500 (Supplies)
Enrichment: $115,200
*Provide summer enrichment to students in grades K-7 during summer program
Salaries: 7 teachers for 1 hour each day of summer school for three years
($45,152)Materials: STEAM $6000. (3 years)
Book club $6000 (3 years)
Drama $4152 (3 years)
Outdoor Instruments: $10000 (year one purchase)
Gaming Club. $9000 (3 years)
Writer’s Club author: $5000
($50,000)Purchased Services:
Drama Club lights: $35,000
Borestone bus: $15,000
Water for STEAM work: $10,000. $60,000
Summer Programming: $68,242
*Provide additional academic support for students in grades K-7 who need it during the summer months.
The provides summer programming for four hours a week for four weeks (3 years). (Salaries)
Materials: $400/year per teacher (7 teachers) (Supplies)
Math Interventionist: $130,000
Provide additional support for students in grades K-2 during the school day
1 teacher with specific training as a math interventionist
High Quality Tutoring: $133,615
*For students in grades 5-8 that score in the 20-30% on the NWEA in groups of no more than three
Salaries for 2 teachers for 4 hours per week for three years (Salaries)
Two programs for intervention in reading (Supplies)
NWEA as formative assessment and intervention work (Supplies)
Books for library to support reading (Supplies)
Bussing for three years (Purchased Service)